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CONNECT THE WORLD
Pro-Russian Rebels Hold Elections In Luhansk, Donetsk; Protests Back On Streets In Burkina Faso After Military Names Interim Leader; Women Could Swing Election In United States Midterms; Syria Adjusts to Allied Airstrikes Against ISIS; Poppy Hijab Stirs Controversy in UK; Parting Shots: Middle East Mirth; Erdogan's Economy; Expanding Threats; Turkey's Textiles
Aired November 2, 2014 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hope is what gave young people the strength to march for civil rights and voting rights and gay
rights and immigrant's rights and women's rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: But women are recognizing their rights to spurn the U.S. president Barack Obama. We'll tell you why the female vote have never
been more important than in this week's midterm elections.
Complex politics are also at play in Ukraine and Burkina Faso this Sunday. We have both of those stories coming to here on the show. Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No disrespect to Hillel Jibram, but there's only so many analogies and metaphors you can make to an olive tree. You know what
(END VIDE OCLIP)
ANDERSON: The lighter side of life here in the Middle East. We'll introduce you to the funnymen determined to change the way this region is
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 8:00 here in the UAE. We are just two days away from mid-term elections in the United States that could
change the balance of power in Washington.
Here's a look at what is at stake for you. On Tuesday, Republicans are hoping to win a majority in the U.S. Senate. Now 36 seats are up for
reelection, but the Republicans only need a net gain of six seats in the upper house to take control from the Democrats.
Now if this happens, they would control both houses of congress for the first time in nearly a decade.
Well, as chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash reports, a lot of U.S. elections are incredibly close, but they all have one thing in common.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Kentucky --
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: A new face to vote for our Barack Obama.
BASH: -- to Kansas --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for President Obama.
BASH: -- to Colorado, --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's voted 99 percent of the time with President Obama.
BASH: -- cross the country, Republicans are trying to take control of the Senate by tying Democrats to an unpopular president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a pleasure to meet you.
BASH: New Hampshire candidate barely speaks a sentence without saying incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen votes with the president 99 percent of
SCOTT BROWN (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE CANDIDATE: Remember, the president said it a couple of weeks ago, he's not running but all of his policies are
on the ballot. I agree with him. And he also said --
BASH (on camera): I bet you do.
BROWN: Yes, I absolutely do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to see you again.
BASH (voice-over): Shaheen gives the quintessential 2014 Democratic response.
BASH (on camera): Is the president a drag on you here?
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: This race is not between the president and Scott Brown. This race is between me and Scott Brown.
BASH (voice-over): Still, even Democratic strategists admit Obama's negatives help make New Hampshire's Senate race neck in neck, now one of
nearly a dozen dramatic too-close-to-call contests from coast to coast. North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa,
Colorado, Alaska. To be sure these tight battles are much broader than Obama, they're about government failures in general, Washington not doing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Kay Hagan, absent (ph).
BASH: A big reason incumbents in both parties are getting pummeled from missing committee hearings, from Democratic Kay Hagan in North Carolina, to
Republican Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitch McConnell, who has been absent from nearly every committee meeting for the past five years.
BASH: And challengers emphasize they are far from Washington sensibilities, like Republican Joni Ernst (ph) in Iowa.
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: I am the one that remains connected to my community, my roots and Iowa.
BASH: Democrats are trying to hold on to the Senate majority by turning out voters in all these critical contests who tend to stay home in midterms,
especially single women. It's why Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley paints his female GOP opponent as too extreme.
REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: She introduced a constitutional amendment in the Iowa Senate to ban all abortions.
BASH: Voters are so disgusted with Washington, the ultimate weapon is trashing both parties. It helps independent Greg Orman tie up the race in
ruby red Kansas against a Republican.
GREG ORMAN (I), KANSAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Both Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid have been far too partisan for far too long.
BASH: But many voters are so turned off, it's hard for any candidate to break through. In South Dakota, Democrat Rick Weiland got creative, turning
RICK WEILAND (D), SOUTH DAKOTA SENATE CANDIDATE (singing): So I'm running for the Senate, but I ain't a big deal. I don't have an RV, just my
automobile. But, hey, no one's bought me.
ANDERSON: Well, both the Republicans and Democrats say turnout is going to be crucial in Tuesday's elections, especially among women. We're going to
show you why both parties are campaigning hard for the female vote when we talk to senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar, that is coming up in
just 10 minutes from now here on your show.
Complex religious and ethnic issues impacting the battle against ISIS in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Sunni tribesman say they are ready and willing
to take on the extremist militants. But they want help from the Iraqi government and from the United States. The tribal leader says the
militants have abducted at least 50 of the tribesman and it is feared that they have been killed along with hundreds of other tribe members earlier
Now for more on the fight against ISIS, we're joined now by Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, thank you for joining us.
It's a complex situation as we know. What's the prospect of the help that's being asked for actually being provided on the ground any time soon?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would take a leap of faith certainly by both sides. The Abu Nima (ph) tribe very clear
that they need to get weapons from the Iraqi government if they're going to take this fight to the ISIS around the town of Hit.
Now obviously they were most recently fueled in their anger by the disappearances and abductions of many of their tribe here. We're talking
in the hundreds. But at the same time, there's also a compelling moment here of truth, really, for the anti-ISIS coalition within Iraq.
They are quite clear the airstrikes and drones cannot do this on their own. They need a ground force to pursue the fight for them. And without that
necessarily happening, they're going to be basically limited to what they can do.
So, a key moment here for whether or not the Iraqi government who are deeply distrusted by those Sunni tribes because they're predominately Shia,
although the change in Prime Minister has made many think it could be more inclusive. If they do not set up to the place and provide those weapons,
provide that support, it will certainly hamper the future campaign there.
And of course also the U.S. has been holding out the possibility of advisers on the ground in Anbar where a lot of the key fighting is right
now so close to Baghdad.
That's unlikely to happen if they don't see the Iraqi government switch sides -- Becky.
Sorry, switch tack.
ANDERSON: Nick, the complexities of what is going on in Iraq and Syria, highlighted by a new Human Rights Watch report on a massacre at a mosque in
Iraq's Diyala province in August.
I want to have our viewers get a quick listen to this. And I've got to warn you viewers, some of the footage is disturbing.
TOM PORTEOUS, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: These are the victims of a massacre at a Sunni mosque in Diyala Province, Iraq. Witnesses say gunmen opened fire on
the Musab bin Amaya (ph) mosque during midday prayers on August 22. 34 people were killed, all civilians, including one woman and a 17-year-old
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Nick, this attack was not the work of ISIS. According to witnesses it was carried out by pro-government Shia militia. It happened
in a Sunni mosque and Human Rights Watch says this type of massacre goes a long way to explaining why the appeal of ISIS is growing amongst Sunni
Do you support that contention?
WALSH: Well, certainly ISIS was being born, frankly, in Syria and Iraq from the brutality of the Syrian Shia regime (inaudible) and what they've
been doing in the Syrian north of intensive aerial bombing campaign in Aleppo and a lot of destruction. Of course, so many civilian lives have
been lost. We're talking in the hundreds of thousands potentially here and of course in Iraq, too, with the lengthy mistrust and enmity between Sunni
and Shia provided that initial vacuum, frankly, the absence of government the absence of someone to defend on many occasions the Sunni communities in
these areas, provided an opportunity for ISIS to move in.
Now militarily more advanced. They are more capable than a lot of the more moderate Syrian rebels seen as well. So that's where they initially found
a space to fill in.
And of course we've seen in the past in Syria when ISIS first move into communities they're not welcome, but certainly the comparative stability
and order that their brutal way of life brings to some is preferable to the absolute anarchy and chaos they've seen beforehand. But then of the code
of conduct they bring in, the extraordinarily strict Islamist principles they expect people to live by, that kind of society doesn't appeal to very
many Syrians, particularly the town of Raqqa. It used to one of the most liberal town in Syria full stop, frankly.
So slowly over time disgruntlement grows. The case is when that disgruntlement is there as we've seen in Iraq with the Abu Nima (ph) tribe,
people potentially willing to push back, they need someone to support them in that fight. And I think the real issue here is in Syria the U.S. need
to step up to the plate. And in Iraq, the Iraqi government needs to break that -- to heal that bridge -- that rift they have between Sunni and Shia
and there -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you.
Well, separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding controversial elections with voting underway right now. It's a bid to legitimize their control of
Now the rebel organized votes in Donetsk and Luhansk areas are being condemned by Kiev and Washington, but Moscow has said it will recognize the
Matthew Chance is keeping a up with developments for us from Moscow.
Is it clear, Matthew, at this stage how many people turned out or have turned out to vote and whether there is any real risk of anything but the
most obvious of results?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think there's any risk of anything but the most obvious results, not least
because it's only pro-independence figures who are standing for election in both of these rebel controlled areas: Luhansk and Donetsk.
In terms of the turnout, well there aren't any sort of recognized international monitors there. The whole election is taking place under a
very makeshift system. But they do have election officials that the rebel authorities and they say that in the Donetsk region there's been a turnout
of about half a million people out of more than 3 million people, so that's about 17 percent or so.
In the Luhansk region, the turnout seems to have been a bit better, around about 50 percent according to the local election officials.
But again it's not really a question of turnout that will determine whether or not these elections are legitimate. On the one hand, you've got the
United States, you've got Ukraine itself, you've got the European Union, you've even got the United Nations saying that because of the way these
elections have been staged, because they've been staged outside of Ukrainian law, they are not legitimate and the vote should not have gone
One the other hand, you've got the Russians who say, well, to the contrary, we think this is a fair expression of the people's views in that part of
Ukraine. And the Russians have said they will recognize the outcome of these votes that are taking place.
And so we're seeing once again Russia and the West at loggerheads over this issue of Ukraine, Becky.
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance in Moscow for you this evening.
Well, still to come on this show this hour, Burkina Faso's president has resigned amid violent protests, but the people, well they're not satisfied
with their new leader it seems. We're going to tell you why.
And why one voting bloc could hold the key to winning some crucial races in the U.S. midterm elections. That is next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE for you.
Candidates hitting the campaign trail hard ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections in the United States. Now both Republicans and Democrats know
that voter turnout is a deciding factor in a number of close races, particularly in the U.S. Senate. If the Republicans managed to gain six
seats there, they will take control from the Democrats.
But let's get to our Brianna Keilar who is standing by in the state of New Hampshire.
And Brianna, remind us why the battle for this state is so significant and what we might expect come polling day.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Becky, it's so important here in New Hampshire because this is a state that went for President Obama in
2008 and 2012. So if the Democratic incumbent here in this state cannot win this election, it just goes to show you that it's going to be even
tougher for Democrats in more conservative states like Arkansas and like Alaska.
And we're looking really at a very key voting demographic in this election, that is women. A lot of times overall women give Democrats and edge.
We're seeing that it's not quite as big an edge as normally Democrats have. And that's why Democrats and Republicans are concentrating so heavily on
KEILAR: President Obama making a closing pitch to an all-important voting block: women.
OBAMA: When women succeed, America succeeds, and we need leaders who understand that.
KEILAR: In a heated and bitter campaign season, both sides say female voters may be the key to the Senate majority. Democrats hoping to hold on
to their traditional edge with women are targeting them with ads.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A vote for Tom Cotton is a vote against Arkansas women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: a vote for Tom Tillis is a vote against families like mine.
KEILAR: And appealing from the stump.
SEN. MARK UDALL, (D) COLORADO: We're for respecting women's reproductive freedoms.
KEILAR: But Republicans are pushing back. And polls show they're narrowing Democrats' lead. An unrelenting focus on women's issues earned
Colorado Senator Mark Udall the nickname Mark Uterus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my daughter to have the same choices I do.
KEILAR: His Republican challenger Cory Gardner has touted moderate positions on issues like equal pay. And he has been inching ahead in the
JONI ERNST, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE: In Iowa, the female candidate Joni Ernst is a Republican and she's leading with men in a tight battle
against Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter.
KEILAR: Republicans are also turning Democrats' attacks against them in ads of their own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a war on women in America. And it's being waged by the Democrats.
KEILAR: In previous cycles, some Republican candidates hurt the brand with inflammatory comments like this.
TODD AKIN, FRM. U.S. CONGRESSMAN: If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.
KEILAR: This year they've largely avoided those damaging moments.
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Women are really open to Republican candidates in a way that perhaps they weren't in 2012.
KEILAR: While Democrats are working to turn out many of the women who pushed Barack Obama to victory in 2012.
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY'S LIST: It is about turnout, it is about getting to the polls right now.
KEILAR: And here in Nashua, New Hampshire we are awaiting Hillary Clinton, a key surrogate and someone who has really been stepping up her messaging
when it comes to women.
Very important, Becky, in this state because you're seeing an all-female ballot as far as federal positions go. You have the governor, Maggie
Hassan, the Senator Jeanne Shaheen who is an incumbent and you have two women who are trying to hang on to their seats in congress. Hillary
Clinton here trying to help them do that, Becky.
ANDERSON: And remind us two years to go until the election. We may or may not see Hillary Clinton as a candidate there. Why is it so important that
one party or the other hold congress?
KEILAR: Well, in this case you've seen divided congress. The House controlled by Republicans, the Senate controlled by Democrats. It's really
stymied President Obama's agenda, of course.
But I think the big things Democrats will point to is that it would stymie him even further. You're talking about judicial nominees, for instance --
ANDERSON: Oh, well it looks as if we've -- I think we have lost Brianna. That's a shame. Technology letting us down somewhat. There may be some
bad weather over the Atlantic or between here and New Hampshire anyway.
We're in the UAE of course.
There is so much more information on these American midterm elections, which could tilt the balance of power. We've made it easy for you to
understand the key races certainly address the question I just put to Brianna. Which states are up for grabs where each party could be
vulnerable. That's at CNNcom/election. You would expect nothing less from us as a network.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up, violent protests drove the president of Burkina Faso to resign. But people aren't happy, it seems, with his replacement. We're going to
tell you why they are rallying again.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi with me Becky Anderson. A warm welcome back.
We are hearing media reports of shots fired at Burkina Faso's national television headquarters. Now a short while later, the channel went off
air. This comes as thousands gather in the capital to protest the military's takeover of their government on Saturday. The army named
Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida as the country's interim leader after the president stepped down amid violent protests.
CNN's Diana Magnay tells us more about the rocky change in leadership.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They came in their tens of thousands to protest President Blaise Compaore's efforts to extend his 27
year rule. And after days of violent protests they won, the president announcing on Friday he'd step down to keep the peace and allow a
transitional authority to lead the country until elections.
It was the culmination of days of anger in the capital Ouagadougou and across the country, protests taking to the streets to express their outrage
at a proposed parliamentary vote to change the constitution to allow the president another term.
On Thursday, they set the parliament building on fire and raided state TV posing for pictures in the news readers' chairs.
For now the military is in charge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The high military hierarchy, after consultation with the army chief of staff informs the national and
international community that Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zida was selected unanimously to lead the period of transition following the departure from
power by President Blaise Compoare.
MAGNAY: In an unstable region, Compoare has been a peacemaker and key ally for the west, allowing both France and the U.S. to use Burkina Faso as a
base to fight Islamist militants in the Sahel.
But like many African leaders, he has shown little interest in relinquishing power despite professing democratic rule, coming to power in
a bloody coup in 1987 in which his predecessor and one-time friend Thomas Sankara was assassinated. And seeking to amend the constitution so he can
stay in power 27 years later.
Now, that's off the cards, an important message to Africa's other presidents for life that they should not take their power for granted.
But it is early days for the brave new Burkina Faso, an uncertain few months ahead as they gear up for elections which will at last guarantee
them a new head of state.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Johannesburg.
ANDERSON: Well, that latest world news headlines are ahead after this short break.
Plus, is the west's sudden preoccupation with ISIS giving the Assad regime a free hand in Syria? That story when this show continues.
ANDERSON: A warm welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, in the UAE. The top stories for you this hour.
Voting underway in elections in parts of rebel-held eastern Ukraine as pro- Russia separatists are trying to solidify their power there. Now, these elections have been called illegitimate by Kiev, Washington, and the UN,
but Moscow says it will recognize the results.
An Israeli police spokesman tells CNN they have completely reopened one of the city's revered holy sites. Earlier, a CNN crew saw Muslim men under
the age of 40 being turned away from what they call the "Nobel Sanctuary" and what Jews call the Temple Mount. A group of women seen protesting the
At least 45 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan near the Wagah border crossing to India. Dozens of people have been wounded.
The attack happened after the crossing's famous daily flag lowering ceremony.
Human Rights Watch blames pro-government militia and Iraqi security forces for a deadly attack on a string of mosques back in August. Now, witnesses
say the attackers were Shiites and some wore police uniforms, 34 people were killed.
The defenders of Kobani, Syria, have fought ISIS invaders to a standstill thanks to some very visible help from allied airstrikes. But is the West
concentration on Kobani playing into the hands of the Assad regime in Syria? Nic Robertson reports.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weeks of wall-to-wall coverage of airstrikes on ISIS in Kobani on Syria's
northern border, some of it carried live from the relative safety of Turkey, has drawn international focus away from what is happening deeper
inside the war-torn nation.
Fragments do come into view fleetingly, like this recent rebel video from Aleppo, Syria's largest city. For months, now, CNN, like many others,
denied access by the Syrian government, unable for the most part to report independently on what's happening inside Syria's borders.
OUBAI SHAHBANDAR, SPOKESMAN, SYRIAN OPPOSITION COALITION: There is no question the Assad regime's advances in the city of Aleppo threaten to cut
off a city of well over 300,000 civilians.
ROBERTSON: While coalition aircraft bomb ISIS, rebels send word that Assad's planes and barrel bomb-dropping helicopters are picking off softer
targets and report thousands of civilian deaths in other parts of Syria away from the border city of Kobani.
SHAHBANDAR: The Assad regime strategy, at the end of the day, focused on Assad's attempts to regain lost territory while not dealing with ISIS
ROBERTSON: Assad, it appears, is leaving the coalition to take on his toughest enemy, ISIS. US officials are adamant there is no deal struck
JOHN KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not about Assad now. This is about ISIL.
ROBERTSON: But moderate opposition rebels believe Assad is trying to force the US to talk with him. Their logic, part of Assad's Aleppo offensive
aims to drive them from front line positions against ISIS so that only Assad's forces face the terror group on the battlefield, thereby cementing
common cause with the US-led coalition.
SHAHBANDAR: The Assad regime wants to present itself to the international community as the sole solution to terrorism and the sole solution to fight
ISIS in Syria.
ROBERTSON: Far beyond Kobani, Assad's strategies are still at play, and some of them, like in Aleppo, appear to be working for him.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, sticking to the theme of conflict, this one historical, every year, the red poppy is worn to honor those who served in the military
but fell in battle. Well now, the red flower causing controversy with a British Muslim group urging women to wear a hijab with a poppy print.
Atika Shubert has more from London for you.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): November is poppy season in Britain. The red paper kind to remember those fallen in
SHUBERT (on camera): Now, the tradition dates back to World War I, and you can see them selling these in any train station here in London. Now, the
proceeds go to the Poppy Appeal, which supports the Royal British Legion. And because of that support for the British military, buying one of these
and pinning it to your lapel is seen by some as a political statement.
SHUBERT (voice-over): But it's a particularly sensitive issue for British Muslims. Four years ago, an extremist Muslim group staged a protest
against British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and set the paper flower alight, angering many here in Britain.
Enter the poppy hijab, a Muslim headscarf with the iconic poppy print launched by the Islamic Society of Britain. You can buy it online for 22
pounds, and the money goes to the Poppy Appeal charity.
The president of the group, Sughra Ahmed, says it's a way to commemorate Muslims who served in the British Army, including Khudadad Khan, the first
Muslim to receive the Victoria Cross 100 years ago.
SUGHRA AHMED, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF BRITAIN: Of the 1.2 million soldiers, Indian soldiers, that fought in World War I, 400,000 of them were Muslims,
and that's really quite sort of -- it hits home to me, because that's part of my heritage, that's part of who I am.
SHUBERT: Online, this scarf has had a mixed reception, with some on Twitter mocking it as a test of British loyalty. Ahmed says it is a
choice, not a test, and it can be worn by anyone, Muslim or not.
AHMED: One thing that is really quite intrinsic to this whole debate, I think, about the poppy is the idea that we do have a choice. And that, for
me, is really quite significant, because that's what people fought for, so that we could live in a democracy, we could have a choice.
SHUBERT: In the neighborhood of the East London Mosque, the reviews are positive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely, yes, because sometimes we're wearing the poppies a decade and stuff, so why not wearing the hijab?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have so much respect for soldiers who fight for your country. And it's a special way for people to represent that. You do
that by wearing the poppy, and if it's a head scarf as well, that's great.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I usually wear a poppy, the red one. I mean yes, as long as goes with the outfit, I don't see why not.
SHUBERT: Simply fashion, a spiritual belief, or a political statement? However it's seen, choosing to wear or not to wear the poppy is a personal
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Keen to get your views on this story and everything else that we are covering, of course, here on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson,
it's your show. Facebook is one way to contact us, facebook.com/CNNconnect. You can always tweet me @BeckyCNN, we're on
Instagram as well, that's Becky CNN. Any way you like.
Now, it's not often that news out of this part of the world is a laughing matter, but tonight's Parting Shots just that. I had a chance to sit down
recently, chat with three comedians who've been making the Middle East chuckle with their stand-up routines. Have a look at this.
TEXT: Stand-up in the Arab World.
AMIR K, COMEDIAN: I think it's cool for me to see, actually, how comedy has grown here, too, you know? Where we can actually and guys like Nemr
and Aron, who've been here before -- it's my first time coming to the Middle East.
ARON KADER, COMEDIAN: You should be able to just come and do your act that could -- no disrespect to Khalil Gibran, but there's only so many analogies
and metaphors you can make to an olive tree.
KADER: You know what I mean?
ANDERSON: I like that.
NEMR ABOU NASSAR, COMEDIAN: That was excellent. That was excellent!
KADER: Can we -- we've got to branch out and maybe --
AMIR K: No pun intended?
KADER: Well, yes, yes, yes.
NASSAR: You've got to branch out right into it.
NASSAR: My father didn't take off the belt and beat me. No. My father made me go get the belt --
NASSAR: -- which was the right way to do it!
ANDERSON: How do you skew your material --
KADER: Kebabs, yes.
AMIR K: We use kebabs.
KADER: And when we come out to the Middle East, from Americans, "Do they speak English over there?" It's like, yes, they all speak English over
there and the material works the same everywhere. And I've been to India as well, and seems to work. And so, yes, you might --
NASSAR: Comedy is universal.
KADER: Comedy is universal.
AMIR K: It's like music.
KADER: It's like food and music and culture, yes.
NASSAR: Some people would tell me, oh, you're going to go the US, they're not going to accept you as an Arab, don't say your name, Nemr Abou Nassar,
say Tiger, because that's what Nemr means in English.
AMIR K: Yes, Tiger Woods.
NASSAR: Or say Tiger Nassar or something like that. No. I was introduced as, "He came in from the Middle East" and people, like literally, it was an
KADER: What would you do if peace just happened? And he just looked at me, like, "What? What do you mean?"
ANDERSON: Do you feel a responsibility to use comedy as a tool for change? Do you feel that responsibility on your shoulders.
AMIR K: Of course.
NASSAR: I do, yes.
KADER: I don't really take it that seriously. I don't know if I'm trying to -- I'm a comedian deep down and that's what I -- I come, and I go and
perform on stage, and at that time, I just want the audience to be laughing at me. So, I never take it that seriously, OK, I'm going to go change
people's views or anything like that. I think it's great that it --
ANDERSON: You know it does, right?
KADER: No, absolutely, 1,000 percent. But I'm saying I don't take that upon myself to say hey, let me go out there and make -- change the world
and what --
ANDERSON: Nemr, you said you did.
NASSAR: So, when I get up on that stage, I feel there is a responsibility -- not a responsibility, it's an opportunity for me that I have 4,000
people coming here to see me talk for an hour and a half. So, to just waste that, for me, is a missed opportunity. But it also adds
responsibility that some people might not be prepared to take.
AMIR K: Right.
NASSAR: But I'm ready to take it, and it was one of my main motivations for getting into comedy.
AMIR K: Yes.
NASSAR: My father, when I was growing up, would tell me the quickest way to somebody's heart is through laughter. And that sat well with me. And
if I -- if you want to convince somebody of something, just make them laugh about it, and you've planted that seed.
AMIR K: I was told it was through a scalpel, or a saber.
AMIR K: I was like, yes, Dad, I kind of like making people laugh. "And it shows on your report card."
ANDERSON: Did you all get support from the families?
NASSAR: I did.
NASSAR: Not in the beginning.
AMIR K: I think --
NASSAR: We had this conversation yesterday, as a matter of fact --
AMIR K: -- the common thing is in the very beginning, it's always -- there's always that resistance because it -- they know how hard --
NASSAR: It's good resistance, though.
AMIR K: It's good resistance because they know how hard it is to make it as a stand-up comedian or in the entertainment world at all. So, I think
the resistance comes from they want to see us successful, and also they want to not have a loser for a son, you know what I mean?
NASSAR: Yes, we mentioned last night.
KADER: We were talking about that yesterday.
NASSAR: Yes, like, do they --
ANDERSON: It's a cultural thing, right, here in the Middle East?
NASSAR: Do they want --
ANDERSON: You don't want to loser for a son.
AMIR K: Absolutely. You don't want to be like, "Yes, my son is doctor, is lawyer, and this loser speaks for laughter."
KADER: Yes. It's not -- it's like, do they want you to succeed because they love you so much they want you to be happy? Or do they just not want
to be embarrassed about you, you know what I mean?
NASSAR: It's both.
AMIR K: It is both.
NASSAR: It literally is both. But it's wise objection. That's what we were talking about yesterday. It would be weird if we're like, you know
what? We're going to be stand-up -- "You know what? Follow your -- " It would be weird if that was the reaction.
AMIR K: And I think you anticipated it.
NASSAR: Any parent that hears would be like, well, have you considered the difficulties? Because if you don't make it, what are you going to do?
What's your back-up plan? And that's what I think -- I would even say to my kid now --
NASSAR: -- I don't have a kid, but if I -- if somebody was stupid enough to actually even want to attempt that with me -- but if that happened, and
I had a kid, I would definitely tell them, well, at least just let them know the pitfalls.
ANDERSON: And you've always got the back-up of insurance, of course, because you were an insurance --
AMIR K: You can always sell insurance.
NASSAR: I was an insurance broker.
NASSAR: I was an insurance broker when I started out.
AMIR K: He left insurance when he started comedy.
KADER: My backup plan is to sell flavored pistachios.
ANDERSON: Yes? Why?
NASSAR: That's not my backup plan, that's what I do. This is my backup plan.
KADER: This is plan B, actually, yes.
NASSAR: This is plan B right now. I'm -- you don't want to see plan C.
KADER: Just as a backup plan.
NASSAR: I can't talk about plan C.
KADER: Plan C is pretty desperate.
NASSAR: Hamzi (ph) will kill me if I talk about plan C.
KADER: He gets a little desperate. Plan C gets pretty low.
ANDERSON: Hamzi is the --
ANDERSON: -- producer of this show.
KADER: He's the architect.
ANDERSON: He's the architect.
NASSAR: The architect of the demise of our careers.
ANDERSON: Hamzi, thank you for lending these guys to me. It's been fantastic, thank you.
NASSAR: Thank you.
AMIR K: Absolutely.
KADER: Thank you so much.
NASSAR: Thanks for having us.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. I'm going to have your headlines at the top of the hour.
MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, though, is up next. For the time being, at least, it's a very good evening. See you at the top.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: A country that straddles both Europe and Asia, a melting pot of traditions, and a strategic location that attracts attention
both politically and economically. This week, MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST heads to Turkey.
Welcome to this special edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Turkey. We have a picturesque view of Istanbul, the city where Recep
Tayyip Erdogan began his political career as mayor.
As prime minister, he oversaw a decade of rapid expansion and a tripling of per capita incomes. But problems in Iraq and Syria are putting pressure on
now President Erdogan and the new government.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): He was hailed the darling of the emerging markets, growing at an average of 5 percent a year for the last decade.
While global economy shrank after the 2009 financial crisis, Turkey's peaked at just over 9 percent in 2010, fueled by a construction boom and an
influx of foreign direct investment. Boasting a large manufacturing industry and home to nearly 80 million consumers, Turkey was the river of
hope in an atmosphere of economic despair.
But the tide has turned. With the economy of Europe, its largest trading partner, contracting to its west, conflicts raging on in Iraq and Syria to
the east, and a series of public protests and political scandals threatening stability within its borders, Turkey is seeing growth estimates
slashed to just over 3 percent, while inflation forecasts hit dangerously above 9 percent.
But as the European economy still struggles to expand, property specialist Anthony Labadie thinks Turkey is faring pretty well.
ANTHONY LABADIE, PROPERTY SPECIALIST, CBRE: When I was in Spain when the crisis came, I know what zero percent or negative numbers can have an
impact. What we do tend to see here is that at still 3 percent, the economy's very wealthy, and we still see investment coming through and
demand coming through, international demand as well as domestic demand.
SUREYYA CILIV, CEO, TURKCELL: Our new products, like Turkcell TV Plus. So, you see our mobile network --
DEFTERIOS: The CEO of national mobile operator Turkcell sees these new growth figures as a natural development during abnormal times.
CILIV: How many countries are growing 7, 8 percent? Even China's growth is slowing. So, I think 3 percent is better than 2 percent, better than 1
percent, and there were years in our history where our economy declined 6 percent, 7 percent, 10 percent. So, 3 percent growth during pretty
turbulent time, is not bad.
DEFTERIOS: After standing at the prime ministerial helm of Turkey's boom years, newly-elected president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to now ride out the
rough seas of change to achieve his goal of making Turkey one of the top ten economies by 2023.
DEFTERIOS: The spiraling threat of ISIS on the southern border is heightening tensions, of course, and this is spilling over to the business
community. It's a nasty combination of slower growth, higher inflation and, of course, the security threats. I asked the finance minister, Mehmet
Simsek, what's the best way to combat those challenges.
MEHMET SIMSEK, TURKISH FINANCE MINISTER: While geopolitical tensions have had negative impact on Turkish macro performance, Iraq is our largest
trading -- one of our largest trading partners. We have a $12 billion trade surplus with Iraq. Syria is right across the border.
So, the impact is either to trade channels or to some other indirect ways. We now host 1.6 million refugees. So far, we've spent $4.5 billion on
refugees, and the numbers of refugees are increasing. So, that's one factor. But our fiscal position is very strong, and we will continue to
handle that with no problems.
In terms of trade, ISIL surge in Iraq was a big disruption, but hopefully now, things are a little bit more stable, more predictable. And it looks
like, after the first shock, exports are picking up, in terms of our trade with Iraq.
DEFTERIOS: Does it put the target of 4 percent for 2015 under threat?
SIMSEK: Just to give you some color, in 2013, we were the fastest-growing economy in Europe, 4.1 percent. This is more modest, 3.3 percent, but it's
more balanced. And considering that the eurozone is still in a sluggish mode in terms of growth and all these geopolitical developments and
domestic political noise in Turkey, I think 3.3 percent is still a decent number.
DEFTERIOS: You recently suggested that 3 to 4 percent growth is not good enough for Turkey. And the world had at least 5 percent over the last ten
years. How do you get 5 percent or more when you almost get to this middle income trap, we're sealing that, we see today, after all that growth?
SIMSEK: I think the key is enhancing the quality of human capital stock, which is very, very important. I'm talking about education, skill-
building, et cetera.
Secondly, clearly we need to move up the value chain. And that requires a lot more focus on R&D, innovation, et cetera. So -- but overall, really,
there are no quick fixes. We have to do comprehensive reforms.
We've done a lot, but we need to do a lot more, second generation, third generation reforms. That's exactly what we're working with Deputy Prime
Minister Babacan and myself to achieve.
DEFTERIOS: Do you think that this target to be a $2 trillion economy by the 100th anniversary of the republic is under threat as a result of what
we see today, the slower start in this period, in the last three years?
SIMSEK: Well, admittedly, those ambitious targets were set prior to the global financial crisis. The world is different today. So, I would admit
that these are very ambitious targets. Having said that, you have to have very high targets and work towards them.
DEFTERIOS: As you know, there's almost two sides to Turkey. You see almost a one-man state in the president, very powerful. And then,
international investors very comfortable with the deputy prime minister Mr. Babacan's economic policy and yourself.
But the two don't seem to meet right now. That's the biggest concern. There's a divergence in views on where Turkey should go economically.
SIMSEK: It is a very superficial perspective. Had it not been for President Erdogan's support for fiscal discipline, for privatization, for
reforms, I don't believe that Turkey would have achieved what it has achieved.
Despite global financial crisis, despite eurozone debt crisis, despite geopolitical tensions, and despite super-high commodity price cycle, Turkey
has attained 5 percent real GDP growth rate over the past 12 years. Now, that's a huge achievement, and you can't really look at that achievement
without President Erdogan's significantly their shape and contribution.
DEFTERIOS: Once again, Mehmet Simsek, the finance minister of Turkey, talking about the challenges this government faces today. We did that
interview in Ankara.
When we come back, we go from the macro economic to the micro. This country has a long tradition in textiles, but the sector took off in the
1980s. When Marketplace Middle East continues, what the made in Turkey brand means at home and abroad.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Turkey. We're in the sprawling city of Istanbul, where we found a vibrant trade in
textile manufacturing. This industry really took off in the 1980s.
Today, you'll find that Turkish makers supply some of the leading global brands around the world, while others have decided to go out on their own
with a Made in Turkey label right behind them. Here's our special report.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): The Rimaks brand is not a household name, but it's been around for four decades, about the same time Turkey emerged as a
player in textiles. The family-run group is a wholesale denim manufacturer, making jeans like these like Jack & Jones in Denmark.
In that timeframe, the Turkish textile industry has expanded into a $17 billion business, representing 10 percent of the country's GDP and 20
percent of overall employment. That's according to the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): The business has evolved rapidly since the 1980s and now covers a full range of activities. It's an often overlooked fact,
but Turkey's one of the largest cotton producers in the world and is now making the machinery used in textile manufacturing that has a value of
nearly $10 billion a year.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): With that expansion, Turkey has lost its low-cost advantage. The average textile worker in Turkey make $5.50 an hour, double
that of EU members Bulgaria, and nine times the rate for workers in South Asia.
So, the made in Turkey label 40 years into the business means offering reliability, design, and speed, according to the industry's trade
EMIR ESKINAZI, PRODUCTION MANAGER, RIMAKS: They don't have the mills. We have huge mills in Turkey. So, I don't think there will be a big problem
in the last ten years. So, I think our production will continue to increase. It will never decrease for sure.
DEFTERIOS: Today, Turkish companies make jeans and cotton apparel from A to Z, meaning from Armani to Zegna, and many big-name luxury brands in
between. Then, there is another approach. After producing jeans for others, Mavi Jeans decided to build its own brand.
CEM NEGRIN, PRESIDENT, TGSD: We had a great factory, we had all the innovation coming from the fabric, and we said we'll go for it.
DEFTERIOS: CEO Cuneyt Yavuz decided to tap Turkey's shopping mall boom and its growth to a near-trillion-dollar economy. Today, Mavi has 300 stores
in Turkey alone, targeting the mid-premium market, with jeans priced at around $100 a pair.
NEGRIN: We were this great brand producing great jeans and selling abroad in great department stores, but then Turkey -- the whole infrastructure,
the whole landscape started to change, and we could no longer be a wholesaler selling only blue jeans.
DEFTERIOS: Whether it's retail or wholesale, the made in Turkey players realize with all the global competition, they by no means have this market
DEFTERIOS: Our special look at the denim manufacturers here in Istanbul. And that's all for this special edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST,
this week from Turkey. I'm John Defterios. Thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.